Killer Cardio in No Time

by Ashley on May 1, 2013


Since completing my internship and leaving Jacksonville, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my hub. Well, at least more time than while I was in Jax without him. If you saw his guest post on the blog a few months ago, you know his passion and love for fitness are second to none. He truly loves all forms of exercise, however, he finds the most joy in lifting weights (he is actually the one who introduced me to and got me into yoga too!). This passion came from his drive to succeed on the baseball field. He did anything and everything he could do in order to perform his best on the mound and practicing yoga three days per week in the offseason was not forgotten.

Although he doesn’t necessarily believe (not sure if that’s the right word) in distance running to meet fitness goals, he still runs distance about once per week, just for the “cardio” (heart) benefits. He was also my biggest supporter when I would hit the roads for hours at a time, training for my marathon, even if he didn’t think it was best. Even if it is midnight and he has been on the road all day, squeezing in a workout is no question.

Although he holds no “fitness certification,” to me, his former professional athlete card and the hours he has spent training at such a high level and even working with collegiate athletes says enough.  He learned everything he knows from some of the greatest in the field of athletic performance and chooses proper form over heavy weights every time. Trust me, I would know, I’ve been guilty of this pet peeve. ;-)

For the past six weeks, we’ve been gym buddies again like we were a few years back when we returned to school together. Even from working out with him for only this short period of time, I’ve certainly noticed changes in my body, feeling better in my clothes and even noticed a few pounds disappear from the scale too – all sans miles and miles of running thinking this was the best way for me to “stay in shape.” I’ve learned from Dustin that quality always trumps quantity, and that an hour a day is usually all it takes (weights + cardio – just the right kind of cardio.), not long distance runs that I sometimes would dread.

Last week, you may have seen this article floating around on the web. Basically the author is saying that women shouldn’t run because it lowers the production of the thyroid hormone T3 which is the hormone that regulates our metabolism. I haven’t checked up on his research and really don’t plan or feel the need to, however, I can speak from personal experience on this subject. I usually stick to what works for me and recommend that you do too.

*Please note that I am not supporting one side or the other in this article; you will learn that I see nothing wrong with distance running, if that’s your exercise of choice, but I also think it’s vitally important to add resistance training and HITT (high intensity interval training) to your regimen. Here’s my personal story regarding the article.

During my first undergraduate, my nutrition/exercise routine went like this: eat what I thought was healthy (Salad with fried chicken? Yes. Burger with a Diet Coke? Sure. Occasional doughnut? I guess…but just this once. Turkey sandwich with baked chips? Only because they’re baked!) and a two mile run about every other day. If you were lucky, I might have thrown in a few crunches, maybeeeee once per week.

I couldn’t understand why the scale would never budge down or why my body never saw any changes. “But I run???”

It wasn’t until Dustin let me in on a little secret that I actually began to see changes in my body (plus the obvious changes in my diet).

Hello weight lifting and interval training.

Now, now before you get all, “But I’m going to get bulky and look like a man!” on me, I can assure you that you won’t, unless that is your goal of course.  Once I began lifting weights (with high reps and low but challenging weight), that was when I began to finally see changes – after years and years of pounding the pavement.

I am certainly not saying that you shouldn’t run if that’s what you enjoy. Sometimes I need a good long run to clear my head or refocus my day, so I do it, but I also now realize that those miles aren’t making the visible changes in my body. And you can see that even after hearing the importance of resistance training and HITT for three years of marriage, I still ran multiple half-marathons and a marathon, along with weight training and interval training. I ran these not because I hoped I would lose weight or add muscle, I ran those because I enjoy running. Over time, I learned that I can still run, but I just mix in other things too!

I’m talking things like M100s, tabatas, and sprints. All great to pump up your heart rate and rev your metabolisom in about four to ten minutes time. Don’t believe me? Just give any of them a try. Click on my previous posts about M100s or tabatas or try the sprint routine below.  Although I can’t promise you that you won’t be sad you did mid session, I can promise you that you won’t be said you did at the end!

Quick Cardio

Time needed: ~15 minutes

  • Light jog: 2 minutes
  • Sprint: 30 seconds (if I’m on a treadmill, I hike up the incline and the speed to whatever I am feeling that day)
  • Walk: 30 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Cool Down: slow walk until heart rate comes back down

Next week, I’ll share one of my favorite at home (or in the gym) easy to follow arm workouts!

Are you a cardio feign or do you like to mix in other things as well!? 

Good health!


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